In 1967, Master Chef Carlo Sena came to the United States from Napoli, Italy. He brought his wife and eldest son Luca and together they began a new life in Philadelphia. In 1976, Chef Carlo and Luca Sena started the acclaimed fine dining restaurant La Famiglia on South Front Street in Philly, which is now owned and operated by Luca’s brothers Gino and Guiseppe. Luca presently owns Panorama restaurant adjacent to the renowned Penn’s View Hotel, continuing the family’s hospitality heritage in the once-upon-a-time capital city of America.
Below is one of the family’s much-loved recipes from their cookbook.
8 Whole semi-boneless quail
Half of one large onion
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ cup Arborio rice
½ cup Barolo wine
2-3 cups of chicken stock
½ cup Madeira wine
½ cup veal stock
Saute onions in a medium skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add Barolo wine and reduce to consistency of syrup. Set aside to allow the onion and wine mixture to completely cool.
In a medium pot, combine rice and enough chicken stock to cover the rice. Cook the rice completely for about 20 minutes. Each time the chicken stock liquid is absorbed, add more to keep rice covered. Once cooked, set it aside and place in the refrigerator until completely cooled.
When the rice is cool, stir in the onion and wine mixture and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stuff the quail with the rice mixture to about three quarters full. Fold over the legs of the quail.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan until smoking hot. Sear the quail on all sides. Once all the quails are seared, remove them from the pan and place in an oven proof pan.
Discard the olive oil from the pan used for searing and deglaze the pan with the Madeira. Reduce by half. Add the reduced Madeira and veal stock to the oven proof pan.
Place pan with quails and sauce into the oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Serve immediately.